The Age of the Crap Artist


One Flew East

Some years ago, we arrived at the age of the “news clown.” It’s the age of realization of characters such as Philip K. Dick’s once fictional newscaster Jim-Jam Brisken, someone who runs for president in a flaming red wig. But we’re past that, now. No, not past Philip K. Dick; we’ve simply moved to another of his characters for representation of the new millenium. It’s Jack Isidore, of Confessions of a Crap Artist: A Chronicle of Verified Scientific Fact, 1945-1959. The book, composed right before the sixties began, didn’t find a publisher until 1975. Yet it is among Dick’s most powerful works—and it speaks to our time.

At the end of the book, Isidore (one of the narrators) realizes that the people who had thought of him as a nut have a point:

What a thing to realize. All those years wasted. I saw it as clearly as hell…

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